It has always been my belief that non governmental organisations - including trade unions - were the conscience of States, very frequently the bad conscience of States guilty of self-inflicted impotence in dealing with an unacceptable status quo in certain regional conflicts.
It has always been my belief that Israel/Palestine has always been a test between political courage and moral cowardice and have frequently expressed the hope that our rendez-vous with courage is not in the too distant future.
The decision taken by the Association of University teachers A.U.T to boycott certain Israeli academic institutions - like decisions calling for divestment by certain churches -- was a breath of fresh air. The surprise was the delaying of decision on the Hebrew university in Jerusalem which is - at least in East Jerusalem - a settler university having confiscated most of Mount Scopus and is creeping fast towards the Mount of Olives in occupied East Jerusalem.
The reaction of the pro-Israeli inquisition was predictable. The Nobel Prize winners who have criticised AUT decisions should be questioned on their "deafening" silence on the treatment of the Palestinian people and should know that many around the world do not consider them as a moral compass precisely because of their tribal abdication of moral responsibility in this particular case.
Palestinian General Delegate to the United Kingdom and to the Holy See
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It was last updated on 6th June 2005.